In times of trauma and tragedy and vulnerability, why do stupid people babble endlessly about praying?

Ahh... rhetorical question in that discussion title, I suppose. 

 

A very nice middle school gym teacher, age 38, was in a head on collision on December 20 as she drove to work.  An oncoming car skidded on ice and this lady is now in the hospital with intracranial brain pressure that is NOT resolving itself, still unconscious or being kept unconscous, with no improvement after over a week. 

 

She comes from a small town in Kansas, but through her community, family, and friends has people seemingly all over the country praying for her at a furious rate.    Post after post after post on a facebook site about the accident promise continuing PRAYER "Praying", "Prayers being sent up", "Praying daily", "Still praying",  "Prayers being sent your way".  ENDLESS comments like this. 

 

One must scroll through dozens and dozens of these to find ONE that simply says, "I'm sorry, I care, I hope things go well, I think of you many times a day."  If maybe HALF the people who post about their concern for this woman mentioned praying, that would seem normal.  But these stupid declarations of PRAYER are simply epidemic.

 

In a way, I sympathize with people who use the prayer nonsense as a way to try to comfort when there is no comfort to be had.  I just don't understand WHY these statements don't sound as empty as they do to me.  Surely "god" knows this woman is in horrible shape... does their imaginary god need to be constantly REMINDED that healing would be appreciated?  HOW do people rationalize this ridiculous practice-- when (IF) they stop to think about it?    The logical question is... does god COUNT prayer requests?  The more the better?

 

What I've concluded is that offering prayers is just code for...for... for what??    Maybe talk of god is the "holiest" and "nicest" thing that people think they can cling to and offer in times of tragedy.  But they are remaining ignorant children when they don't deal with the randomness and pain that can't be helped or cured by any amount of magical prayer talk.

 

It's hard to find caring words to say wihout resorting to the "praying" formulaic response.  When I try to come up with something to say, it takes me a long time, but sometimes I do it.  If I had medical connections or super doctors to recommend, THAT would be something helpful to do...

 

Frustrated by this subject and by people.

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I think it has something to do with the human response to want to help, & feeling helpless sends a lot into prayer mode because it's the accepted thing to do while doing nothing.

Personally I can't think long distance, but if there was some way I could physically help out & make a difference for a fellow human being, then if possible, I'm there. I also donate to non-religious disaster funds, & the spca, because that's one way of trying to help somehow.

I quit the praying thing when I was a pre-teen. I never saw where it accomplished a damn thing, even back then.

Yep, they think they are actually helping by begging gawd to change his mind and UN- do the horrible tragedy he let happen. If this was someone in my family and people kept saying this to me, I think I'd lose it.

Mindy, if someone you love very dearly died and people kept saying things that don't ease your pain, you might consider stating exactly how you feel about their statement. I know, grieving time is not a time to get out your claws; however, the point of mourning is to feel comfort, not irritation. 

Perhaps a simple,"I don't believe in prayer; I have no faith in god, My loved one is gone and I feel ... whatever you feel." The other person then has the responsibility to stop contributing to your distress; if the other person is more interested in his/her feelings than yours, you identify that person as toxic for you. Distance is about all one can hope for.  

The important thing is not to be made a victim. You are in charge of how you grieve and with whom you share your grief. 

You are right, of course, Joan!

On another note I went to the visitation of an old family friend.  She had lung-cancer and Alzheimers.  Her granddaughter, my mom, and I were laughing at a memory of all of us from years ago, and her granddaughter said "I'll bet she's laughing with us right now from above."  Then she looked at me.  She knows I'm an Atheist.  I just ignored that and continued the conversation.

"I'll bet she's laughing with us right now from above." Of all the religious BS I've heard, this is one of the most rediculous things. Religious people at cemeteries want to put the departed in heaven above when the body was lowered into the ground just moments before. It makes no sense.

Imagine that my wife and I are going out to dinner. I cannot find my wallet, but I know I put it on the night stand before. I keep on looking and looking, then my wife tells me my wallet will be found with the lawnmower in the shed.

Sounds perfectly logical to me.

Mindy, she is aware, and that is what is important. Not everyone believes there is an "above". She probably thought everyone shared her views until you made your thoughts known. Good job! You did it! Doesn't it feel just dandy? 

Yes Joan!  I still think she is stunned I am an Atheist!  Once she told me I wasn't smart, LOL, and I think she was alluding to the fact that I put Atheist things on Facebook.  Yep, it's ME that's the "not smart" one! :)

I would feel the same way, Mindy, but this family is so overwhelmingly grateful for the continued praying. I think that they feel helpless, and clutching at the traditional magic formulas is all they've got. And since they've never questioned their brand of religion, the absurdity escapes them. Maybe it's just the way things are in the "heartland" (Kansas). It certainly would be the same here where I live in SC. But ARE THERE places where the majority of people actually come to terms with something like this and dig deeply to express their pain and sorrow and feelings of helplessness without turning to this pervasive formula of meaningless superstition?

I don't know B.K.!  Maybe not here in the U.S. unfortunately!  Certainly specific families.  Oh well, if it's making the family feel better I guess...

B.K. I think there are 

"places where a majority of people actually come to terms with something like this and dig deeply to express their pain and sorrow and feelings of helplessness without turning to this pervasive formula of meaningless superstition?"

I think institutions of learning, of science, of valuing doubt and questions, of those who travel with an open mind and curiosity, and those who hold a sense of skepticism that frees them from dogma offer place of reason.

For those 15% of scientists who believe in god and creation and salvation do not rely on the supernatural the way those who believe trumpets won a battle, or the parting of seas. I could be wrong on this. Francis Collins does not believe in the 6,000 year old Earth, for example. 

Why It's So Hard for Scientists to Believe in God

I agree with his description of the laws of nature and disagree with his conclusions.

"So that certainly tells me something about the nature of living things.  But it actually adds to my sense that this is an answer to a "how?" question and it leaves the "why?" question still hanging in the air."

~ Francis Collins"

"Why" questions seem to be perfectly understandable using the theory of evolution. 

I notice whenever there is a catastrophe they always call for prayers - Like that will make some sort of magic happen. They should ask why god would do that in the first place.

Much simpler, if they think their deity is gonna mess with the laws of nature, to have adjusted the location of that slick spot on the road rather than after the fact adjusting the swelling in the woman's brain-- to state the obvious.

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